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Tony Gwynn has cancerous tumor removed from mouth

Feb 14, 2012, 1:45 PM EDT

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Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn underwent surgery today to remove a cancerous tumor from his mouth and may need “a nerve graft” from his shoulder or leg “to preserve facial functions,” according to Tom Friend of ESPN.com.

Eighteen months ago Gwynn developed a malignant growth inside his right cheek, which he attributed to years of using smokeless tobacco as a player.

Friend notes that the “intricate” surgery requires five doctors, with Gwynn’s wife saying:

Hopefully, his face will work fine. Hopefully he’ll be able to blink his eye. They said they will make his face as normal as they can … and that it might be better than it was.

That sounds pretty scary, but for now at least Gwynn is hoping to return to his job as San Diego State’s head coach next month.

  1. cur68 - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Jeez. Good luck, Tony Gwynn. On the plus side, he’ll lose some weight: hard to eat after all that mouth surgery.

    • aceshigh11 - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      C’mon, man…what a dick thing to say.

      While losing a few pounds would undoubtedly improve his overall health, bringing it up when he’s battling cancer isn’t very tactful.

      • cur68 - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        Possibly true, aces, but y’gotta stay positive. When I was a student I was assigned a nice gent who had to have substantial surgery to remove salivary glands, some neck muscle, and a portion of his tongue due to cancer. He said it was very painful, and his face was forever altered but he was immensely grateful for the amount of weight he lost: we used to laugh about it a lot. He said it was the most successful diet he’d ever been on and he’d go around recommending it to his fellow in-patients. He had the right attitude to beating stuff like this: focus on what it can do FOR you not TOO you.

  2. El Bravo - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Another reason to stay away from smokeless tobacco, kids.

    • henryd3rd - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      Not just the kids but everyone that has some of those packets, tins or bags of tobacco in their pockets

    • stoneegratz - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      hilarious how el bravos comment wont take a thumbs down. Get the big leaguers to stop chewing and the kids will follow

  3. Old Gator - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Hang in there, Tony. A class guy, and watching you play was always one of the great joys of my life as a baseball fan.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      Perfectly stated, Gator.

  4. AlohaMrHand - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I grew up imitating his swing.Get well soon Tony

  5. shea801 - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    What are the chances he now sounds like Barry White?

  6. natstowngreg - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Best Wishes, Tony.

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